Government of Bangladesh and partners launch country's largest ever national deworming campaign
March 28, 2017 - Dhaka, Bangladesh
Worms remain a neglected disease worldwide despite the high prevalence of infection and low cost of effective treatment. The Government of Bangladesh is increasing its focus on the disease in the country. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) has expanded its targets for deworming from treating children from 5-11 years up to 16 years as part of their expanded efforts to eliminate the health effects of intestinal worm infections nationwide. The deworming campaign was launched at a meeting in Dhaka and will treat over 34 million people.
Hon. Dr. Zahid Malik, State Minister of Health & Family Welfare, emphasized the importance of STH control to national public health efforts, “particularly for marginalized populations and children.” Government investment in health services, including for STH control, has expanded substantially in recent years.
Dignitaries including Prof. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of Health Services, MOHFW, and line directors from the ministries of health and education joined district-based health and education officials at the launch meeting. Stakeholders were represented by Drs. William Lin and Steven Silber of Johnson & Johnson and Dr. Rubina Imtiaz, Director of Children Without Worms, the Task Force for Global Health.
“Effective STH control relies on the hard work and commitment of district health and education officials,” noted Dr. Bill Lin of Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Sanya Thamina, Program Manager of the national STH program, detailed the success of the national STH program in increasing drug treatment coverage and decreasing disease prevalence. Led by the national STH program, stakeholders recently initiated more extensive parasitologic surveys. The surveys will enable more effective targeting of resources on high-risk populations and locations.
Johnson & Johnson has donated the deworming drug, VermoxTM, to the national STH program since 2007 and its donations to the country have totaled over 341 million treatments. Children Without Worms supports the national STH program to operationalize its commitment to eliminating the health effects of intestinal worms through ongoing technical and operational support.